Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Navajos oppose Hopi CO2 sequestration project

The Navajo Nation issued a press release last night announcing that the Tribe's Intergovernmental Relations Committee unanimously passed a resolution opposing the Hopi Tribal Council's "plan to research and allow" for carbon capture sequestration in the Black Mesa Basin. On Aug. 12, the Resources Committee passed the same resolution on a vote of 6-1. [right, WestCarb cross section through the test well previously drilled near the Cholla power plant near Holbrook]

Committee member Raymond Maxx said the Hopi Tribal Council recently approved the $5 million pilot project, working with four utility companies and the U.S. Department of Energy. The pilot project would store carbon dioxide from nearby power plants in an underground storage on Hopi land and near Navajo communities.

"The Hopi Tribal Council has selected a site in the Black Mesa Basin," Maxx said. "The proposed site is near the Navajo Aquifer (N-Aquifer), our precious water source. Once carbon dioxide is injected into the N-Aquifer, it will contaminate the water source we share with the Hopi people, our main underground water supply."

Maxx also said that as neighbors the Hopi Tribal Council failed to consult the Navajo Nation with its proposal. Passage of the resolution also urges the federal government to deny the final implementation of the carbon capture sequestration plan.

The AZGS has a small role in the project being run by the WestCarb consortium on Hopi lands. We will help examine the subsurface geology and evaluate the potential for CO2 storage.

When I was State Geologist of Utah, I ran a DOE-funded project in cooperation with the Navajo Nation to test the use of CO2 injected into small algal mound oil fields for enhanced oil recovery. The giant Aneth field, in the Utah part of the reservation, underwent CO2 injection for decades.

[taken in part from the Navajo Nation news release]

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